I would help, but it is not necessary. If you don't have access to a router. I believe there are simulators out there. Or else, you have to memorizing the commands. I pass all my exams without any lab time. :-)
A router isn't entirely necessary if you have the ability to read the books and then take the exams(basically a memory test !!!)
However, you will fall short in the troubleshooting exam which draws on prior router experience/knowledge and CLI skills to understand the content and pass the exam.
Treating the exam(s) as just a difficult memory test doesn't prove anything and poses the questions "what kind of CCNP am I?"
It proves you can pass exams, but it doesn't prove you are good engineer !!! :)
It took me between 6 mths and 1 year to pass my R&S CCNP, with excellent access to hardware and on-the-job experience, I passed each exam first time and I reckon I am a better engineer for it :) The experience and hardware exposure is crucial I would say.
Working with REAL equipment I feel will better prepare you for the CCNP exams...and for the CCIE down the road. When I went through the qualification exams, I found myself referencing what I did in the lab more than what I read in a book. I used the books for basic refreshers just before I took the exam. It really depends on what you want to get out of the certification...do you want to be confident when you tell people that you're a CCNP????
Take a look at the Cisco Networking Academies. They are offerred at many technical schools (I attend Griffin Tech), and are really cheap ($250/class in Ga.) Classroom instruction is on real hardware (~7 hrs per week- mandatory). Each subject is covered in depth over a 3 months period with mini-exams weekly and a hands on final at the end. If you make an A or B in the class, you are probably prepared to sit for the corresponding exam.
In a nutshell, for $1k and a year of your time you can become a CCNP and hit the street confident of your ability to perform. Far better than any cram course you could take or do at home. Just last night I set up a stack of 2900's feeding of a Cat4k. Configured VLANS, VTP, a router on a stick, the RSM, and EIGRP on both. Added a few workstations and made sure that they could talk to each other. In a nutshell, each student configured a 120 user LAN and made it work (and debugged it if it did not). No way that compares to a weekend cram for a test...
We are pleased to announce availability of Beta software for 16.6.3. 16.6.3 will be the second rebuild on the 16.6 release train targeted towards Catalyst 9500/9400/9300/3850/3650 switching platforms. We are looking for early feedback from custome...